Nizhny Novgorod (Ни́жний Но́вгород)
Nizhny Novgorod is often colloquially shortened as Nizhny, and is the fourth largest city in Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Novosibirsk. Population: 1,311,252. It is the economic and cultural center of the vast Volga-Vyatka economic region, and also the administrative center of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast and Volga Federal District.
From 1932 to 1990 the city was known as Gorky (Го́рький) after the writer Maxim Gorky who was born there. It was the home of Russia's Ford Motor Company plant starting in the 1930s.
The city is an important economic, transport and cultural center of the nation. There were no bridges over the Volga or Oka before the October Revolution in 1917. The first bridge over the Volga was started by the Moscow - Kazan Railway Company in 1914, but only finished in the Soviet Era when the railway to Kotelnich was opened for service in 1927.
The famous writer Maxim Gorky was born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1868 as Alexei Maximovich Peshkov. In his novels he realistically described the dismal life of the city proletariat. Even during his lifetime, the city was renamed Gorky following his return to the Soviet Union in 1932 on invitation of Joseph Stalin. The city bore Gorky's name until 1991. His childhood home is preserved as a museum, known as the Kashirin House (Russian: Домик Каширина), after Alexei's grandfather who owned the place.
During much of the Soviet era, the city was closed to foreigners to safeguard the security of Soviet military research and production facilities, even though it was a popular stopping point for Soviet tourists traveling up and down the Volga in tourist boats. Unusually for a Soviet city of that size, even the street maps were not available for sale until the mid-1970s.
The physicist and the Nobel laureate Andrei Sakharov was exiled there during 1980-1986 to limit his contacts with foreigners.
Gorkovskaya Railroad (Горьковская железная дорога), which operates some 5,700 km of rail lines throughout the Middle Volga region (of which some 1,200 are in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast), is headquartered in Nizhny Novgorod. Overnight trains provide access to Nizhny Novgorod from Moscow. Since December 2002, a fast train transports passengers between Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow in less than five hours. One can continue from Nizhny Novgorod eastward along the Trans-Siberian Railway, with direct trains to major cities in the Urals and Siberia, as well as to Beijing.
Nizhny Novgorod Strigino Airport has direct flights to major Russian cities, as well as to Frankfurt (three flights a week by Lufthansa). The air base Sormovo was an important military airlift facility, and Pravdinsk air base was an interceptor aircraft base during the Cold War. S7 Airlines goes to Moscow Domodedovo airport daily.
Nizhny Novgorod is an important center of Volga cargo and passenger shipping. In the summer, cruise vessels operate between Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Astrakhan. In 2006 a small number of Meteor-class hydrofoils resumed operations on the Volga river. The city is served by Russian highway M-7 (Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod – Kazan – Ufa), and is a hub of the regional highway network. Public transport within the city is provided by a small subway system (Nizhny Novgorod Metro), tramways, marshrutkas or minibuses, buses and trolleybuses. Electric and diesel commuter trains run to suburbs in several directions.
Nizhny is a dirty city because of the main industries being manufacturing and steel. However the regional leadership has succeeded in also bringing IT projects to Nizhny and several software companies have been established in an effort to diversity the economy and bring more "clean" industry and jobs to the city.